Quick Facts About Darjeeling First Flush Tea
It can be overwhelming when you step into a tea shop and notice the countless classifications of tea. Who knew there are so many? But once you learn some of the basic tea terms, you’ll be able to decipher what each classification really means. In the world of premium teas, understanding Flush is a good place to begin. In the most basic sense, a tea flush refers to the tea growing season.
First Flush is defined as the very first picking of a tea plant’s harvest season. The new leaves plucked during First Flush are the youngest and most tender part of the tea plant and are said to yield the purest and freshest cup of tea. Each additional Flush yields a different flavour and aroma as the growing season for that tea plant progresses.
In the first flush Darjeeling tea, the color of the tea is light with clear and a bright liquor. The leaves have a floral scent, with a lively character. This early spring selection consisting of the most tender leaves, has a gentle aroma, very light colour, and mild astringency. These early leaves are usually more delicate and tender and therefore more fresh and astringent in flavour.
But why is the first flush expensive? Generally speaking, First flush teas are produced in less quantity and hence the demand outstrips the supply. When you buy a First Flush tea, you’re buying some of the freshest and most exquisite tea available. No matter which Flush a Darjeeling tea comes from, each batch of fresh leaf will be different from one garden, one season to the next. So no batch of Darjeeling will ever be the same. First Flush teas are premium teas that are typically more expensive and prized than other teas on the market, so you’re usually making an investment in that tea. It is so special and exclusive that tea connoisseurs consider the first harvest from this region to be the “Champagne” of teas.
To brew that perfect cup, using about ½ teaspoon of loose leaf tea per one cup of water is a safe bet. But here are a few general tips to keep in mind. They should be brewed in slightly cooler temperatures for less time to avoid a tea that is too astringent and bitter. We suggest brewing our Golden Tips First Flush with water that’s just off the boil for 2 to 3 minutes. The longer your tea steeps, the more quickly it will release any bitterness and astringency. So it’s important not to over steep a First Flush tea that already has an astringent quality. Taste your tea after the recommended steeping time and then decide if you’d like it to steep a little longer. Most First Flush teas are strong enough to consume with milk and sugar, but for the best flavour, try having your First Flush without any additives. That way, you can enjoy the subtle flavour of the freshest spring tea leaves.
First Flush teas are usually only lightly oxidized so that their fresh flavour can shine through. Therefore, consuming your First Flush sooner rather than later is a good idea. Darjeeling first flush teas can last up to one year if stored properly in a cool, dark place and in an airtight container away from light, moisture and pantry items like coffee and spices that can leach flavour into the tea leaves.